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Ansvarsgenombrott - ett existerande institut i svensk rätt?

Svensson, Johan LU (2010) JURM01 20092
Department of Law
Abstract
Piercing the corporate veil, i.e. holding the shareholders of a corporation liable for the corporation’s obligations, in spite of the shareholders’ limited liability, has for a long time been a controversial subject among Swedish legal scientists. The attitude towards piercing the veil has varied. While some have held that there are examples of veil piercing in case law from the Swedish Supreme Court, and that it is possible, by analysing this case law, to draw conclusions regarding the more detailed shape of the rule, others have completely denied the existence of such a rule, or at least held that it is impossible to draw any firm conclusions about the design of such a rule. The purpose of this study is to examine whether the case law... (More)
Piercing the corporate veil, i.e. holding the shareholders of a corporation liable for the corporation’s obligations, in spite of the shareholders’ limited liability, has for a long time been a controversial subject among Swedish legal scientists. The attitude towards piercing the veil has varied. While some have held that there are examples of veil piercing in case law from the Swedish Supreme Court, and that it is possible, by analysing this case law, to draw conclusions regarding the more detailed shape of the rule, others have completely denied the existence of such a rule, or at least held that it is impossible to draw any firm conclusions about the design of such a rule. The purpose of this study is to examine whether the case law from the Su-preme Court often cited in support of the existence of a Swedish rule on piercing the veil (NJA 1935 s. 81, 1942 s. 473, 1947 s. 647 and 1975 s. 45) can be given another explanation.
The results of the study can be summarized as follows. There is a princi-ple to the effect that a person running a business on his own behalf will be held responsible for the business’ contractual obligations if the circum-stances were such that the other party intended to enter into a contract with the person carrying out the business. It does not matter whether the person running the business is also the one concluding the contract or the contract is concluded by an agent or in whose name the agreement is formally con-cluded. This principle was used in NJA 1935 s. 81 and 1975 s. 45 and used to identify the "real” construction employer in NJA 1942 s. 473.
Before SkL entered into force an employer’s vicarious liability did not cover non-contractal damages caused by all emplyees, but only damages caused by what could be called an independent operational management. In NJA 1947 s. 647 the company was held to constitute such an independent operational management in relation to the shareholders. In NJA 1942 s. 473 liability was imposed on a member of a cooperative (in Swedish ekonomisk förening) under the principle that the owner of real estate property having excavation carried out on the property is liable for damages caused by a negligent independent contractor.
These cases therefore provide no support to the theory that Swedish law has accepted a principle of piercing the corporate veil. What has occurred is, however, that another principle, making one legal entity responsible for the obligations of another, under certain circumstances also has been applied in the relationship between a legal person and its shareholders or members. As regards non-contractual obligations, the employer’s responsibility for dam-ages caused by employees has undergone such profound changes that NJA 1947 s. 647 today has no precedential value. As regards contractual obliga-tions, however, there is the above mentioned principle regarding liability for a business’ obligations. However, there is nothing in existing case law to suggest that the principle could be applied in the relationship between a cor-poration and its shareholders, unless there is a contractual relationship estab-lished, under which the company operates the business on behalf of the shareholders. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Ansvarsgenombrott, dvs. att delägarna i ett aktiebolag trots ansvarsbegräns-ningen i ABL 1 kap. 3 § görs ansvariga för aktiebolagets förpliktelser, har länge varit omdiskuterat i svensk doktrin. Inställningen till institutet har dock varit varierande; medan vissa ansett att man i praxis från HD kan finna exempel på ansvarsgenombrott och med stöd av denna praxis utforma detta instituts närmare innehåll, har andra helt förnekat förekomsten av sådan rättspraxis eller åtminstone menat att det av praxis är omöjligt att dra några säkra slutsatser om utformningen av institutet. Följande undersökning avser att besvara frågan om det i rättspraxis från HD finns stöd för att anse att ansvarsgenombrott existerar i svensk rätt, eller om tvärtom de... (More)
Ansvarsgenombrott, dvs. att delägarna i ett aktiebolag trots ansvarsbegräns-ningen i ABL 1 kap. 3 § görs ansvariga för aktiebolagets förpliktelser, har länge varit omdiskuterat i svensk doktrin. Inställningen till institutet har dock varit varierande; medan vissa ansett att man i praxis från HD kan finna exempel på ansvarsgenombrott och med stöd av denna praxis utforma detta instituts närmare innehåll, har andra helt förnekat förekomsten av sådan rättspraxis eller åtminstone menat att det av praxis är omöjligt att dra några säkra slutsatser om utformningen av institutet. Följande undersökning avser att besvara frågan om det i rättspraxis från HD finns stöd för att anse att ansvarsgenombrott existerar i svensk rätt, eller om tvärtom de rättsfall som åberopats till stöd för detta (NJA 1935 s. 81, 1942 s. 473, 1947 s. 647 och 1975 s. 45) istället kan ges en annan förklaring.
Resultatet av undersökningen kan sammanfattas så att det finns en prin-cip som innebär att den som själv driver rörelse för egen räkning blir ansva-rig för förpliktelser som ingåtts för rörelsen om omständigheterna varit så-dana att motparten tänkt sig att komma i avtalsförhållande med den som driver rörelsen, och detta oavsett om avtalet ifråga faktiskt slutits av denne själv eller genom en mellanman och oavsett i vems namn avtalet formellt ingåtts. Denna princip har kommit till användning i NJA 1935 s. 81 och 1975 s. 45 och använts för att utpeka den ”verklige byggherren” i NJA 1942 s. 473.
På skadeståndsrättens område var en företagare innan SkL:s ikraftträdan-de inte ansvarig för utomobligatoriska skador som vållats av alla arbetstaga-re, utan endast för skador som vållats av vad som kunde kallas en självstän-dig driftsledning. I NJA 1947 s. 647 ansågs aktiebolaget utgöra en sådan självständig driftsledning i förhållande till aktieägarna. Skadeståndsansvar ålades föreningsmedlemmen i NJA 1942 s. 473 med stöd av principen att den som låter utföra grävning på en fastighet ansvarar även för skador som uppstår till följd av vållande av en självständig medhjälpare.
De anförda rättsfallen ger därför inte något stöd för att svensk rätt accep-terat ansvarsgenombrottsinstitut. Vad som förekommit är däremot att en annan rättsregel, som tillämpas för att göra ett rättssubjekt ansvarigt för ett annat rättssubjekts förpliktelser, under vissa förhållanden även ansetts till-lämpligt i förhållandet mellan en juridisk person och dess delägare eller medlemmar. Beträffande utomobligatoriska förpliktelser har principalansva-ret genomgått så genomgripande förändringar att NJA 1947 s. 647 idag får anses sakna prejudikatvärde. Med avseende på inomobligatoriska förpliktel-ser är däremot ovan nämnda princip om ansvar för förpliktelser vid drivande av rörelse gällande rätt. Det finns dock ingenting i praxis som tyder på att principen skulle kunna tillämpas i förhållandet mellan ett aktiebolag och dess delägare om inte ett avtalsförhållande föreligger enligt vilket aktiebola-get driver rörelsen för delägarnas räkning. (Less)
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author
Svensson, Johan LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM01 20092
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Associationsrätt, Förmögenhetsrätt
language
Swedish
id
1600037
date added to LUP
2010-05-06 16:04:26
date last changed
2010-05-06 16:04:26
@misc{1600037,
  abstract     = {Piercing the corporate veil, i.e. holding the shareholders of a corporation liable for the corporation’s obligations, in spite of the shareholders’ limited liability, has for a long time been a controversial subject among Swedish legal scientists. The attitude towards piercing the veil has varied. While some have held that there are examples of veil piercing in case law from the Swedish Supreme Court, and that it is possible, by analysing this case law, to draw conclusions regarding the more detailed shape of the rule, others have completely denied the existence of such a rule, or at least held that it is impossible to draw any firm conclusions about the design of such a rule. The purpose of this study is to examine whether the case law from the Su-preme Court often cited in support of the existence of a Swedish rule on piercing the veil (NJA 1935 s. 81, 1942 s. 473, 1947 s. 647 and 1975 s. 45) can be given another explanation.
     The results of the study can be summarized as follows. There is a princi-ple to the effect that a person running a business on his own behalf will be held responsible for the business’ contractual obligations if the circum-stances were such that the other party intended to enter into a contract with the person carrying out the business. It does not matter whether the person running the business is also the one concluding the contract or the contract is concluded by an agent or in whose name the agreement is formally con-cluded. This principle was used in NJA 1935 s. 81 and 1975 s. 45 and used to identify the "real” construction employer in NJA 1942 s. 473.
     Before SkL entered into force an employer’s vicarious liability did not cover non-contractal damages caused by all emplyees, but only damages caused by what could be called an independent operational management. In NJA 1947 s. 647 the company was held to constitute such an independent operational management in relation to the shareholders. In NJA 1942 s. 473 liability was imposed on a member of a cooperative (in Swedish ekonomisk förening) under the principle that the owner of real estate property having excavation carried out on the property is liable for damages caused by a negligent independent contractor.
     These cases therefore provide no support to the theory that Swedish law has accepted a principle of piercing the corporate veil. What has occurred is, however, that another principle, making one legal entity responsible for the obligations of another, under certain circumstances also has been applied in the relationship between a legal person and its shareholders or members. As regards non-contractual obligations, the employer’s responsibility for dam-ages caused by employees has undergone such profound changes that NJA 1947 s. 647 today has no precedential value. As regards contractual obliga-tions, however, there is the above mentioned principle regarding liability for a business’ obligations. However, there is nothing in existing case law to suggest that the principle could be applied in the relationship between a cor-poration and its shareholders, unless there is a contractual relationship estab-lished, under which the company operates the business on behalf of the shareholders.},
  author       = {Svensson, Johan},
  keyword      = {Associationsrätt,Förmögenhetsrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Ansvarsgenombrott - ett existerande institut i svensk rätt?},
  year         = {2010},
}